UPDATED: Schools prepare to vaccinate students for H1N1 (10/22/09)


 OCT. 23, 2009 – Williston Central School Nurse Sue Leister sent an e-mail to parents on Friday saying the vaccination clinic for the H1N1 virus, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27 at Allen Brook School, has been postponed. No new date has been scheduled. According to the e-mail, there are "insufficient quantities of the vaccine."

The Williston Central School vaccination clinic is still scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 3, though Leister said in her e-mail that clinic might be rescheduled as well. She said updates on new vaccination clinic dates will be made available as soon as school nurses become aware.

Leister said updates would be posted on the school's Web site, www.wsdvt.org. 


Oct. 22, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The Williston School District, along with every school district in the state, will host free H1N1 virus vaccination clinics for students beginning next week. Administered by the Vermont Department of Health, this will be the first statewide inoculation effort in more than 15 years.

The H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, began spreading across the world in the spring. The World Health Organization has already declared swine flu a global pandemic, and the virus could be increasingly deadly in developing countries. In the United States, federal health officials fear swine flu, coupled with the seasonal flu, will make for a dangerous flu season in this country.

Williston schools had a swine flu outbreak in June. Due to the high number of afflicted students and teachers, school officials decided to end the school year two days earlier than scheduled.

Currently, Williston schools are seeing a “higher than usual” number of students out sick, said Sue Leister, a nurse at Williston Central School. On Monday, for instance, Leister said 70 students stayed home from Williston Central School and 43 stayed home from Allen Brook School. She wasn’t sure how many of those students stayed home due to flu-like symptoms.

“The (Center for Disease Control) information we’ve received would indicate that the flu students are experiencing is H1N1,” Leister said.

At Champlain Valley Union High School, students have not been absent in high numbers, according to nurse Carolyn Slater. But the high school is ready for possible outbreaks.

“We’re as ready as we’ll ever be,” Slater said.

The first vaccination clinic will take place at Allen Brook School on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Williston Central School students will get their first vaccinations on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Since children 9 and under must get two vaccination shots against swine flu, a second vaccination clinic will take place at Allen Brook on Dec. 1 and at Williston Central on Dec. 7.

Students at CVU will also get a chance to receive the H1N1 flu shots. The vaccination clinic there is scheduled for Dec. 17.

At all public schools in Vermont, nurses with the Department of Health will be giving the shots. According to Robert Stirewalt, public information officer for the health department, the last time a statewide vaccination program occurred was in 1993 for measles.

“This is certainly a unique event,” Stirewalt said.

Parents must give permission for their children to receive the vaccinations at the schools. Leister said most parents in the district are allowing their children to have the vaccinations, while a few are opting to bring their child to a family doctor.

Permission slips at CVU will likely be sent out sometime next week, Slater said. Information will be sent home in e-mails and letters and posted on the school’s Web site, www.cvuhs.org, she added.

As ongoing precautions against the swine flu, both schools will continue to educate students on hand washing techniques and respiratory etiquette.

“We put a huge effort into education at the beginning of the year,” Leister said.